Recycling is often in the news, and people are urged to recycle as much as possible. One material that is very frequently recycled is aluminium, which is often found in drinks cans. Why is this such an important metal to reprocess?
Firstly, aluminium doesn't degrade. Scrap aluminium can be melted down and pressed into sheets and ingots, and the quality of the new metal will be just as good as the original metal that would otherwise be wasted. In theory, there is no reason why aluminium could not be recycled forever—the metal would always be of the same good quality. This also means that the whole of the metal can be reused—and that it can be reused for different purposes. Aluminium that previously made up a drinks can be used as a building material or to make engine parts.
Recycling aluminium is an extremely effective way of minimising damage to the environment. The Australian Aluminium Council, which represents the industry, estimates that reusing the metal saves ninety-five per cent of the energy used in mining and producing the metal from scratch. It also has a considerably lower carbon footprint and avoids pumping huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
The fact that the process is relatively simple compared to mining the metal means that it is much cheaper to produce recycled aluminium rather than it is to dig it up—even when the costs of collecting the scrap are taken into account. After all, most of the work of making the metal has already been done, so the fact that much less energy is needed to recycle it leads to economic as well as environmental benefits.
It's also worth remembering that there is a lot of metal out there to be recycled. As well as domestic waste, such as drinks cans, there are industrial sources of scrap aluminium, all of which can go back into the production cycle. There does not seem to be any obvious reason why all the aluminium needed in the world could not one day be recovered from home or industrial items that are no longer needed.
So next time you're tempted to throw a drinks can in the trash, remember that the metal may already have had a useful life—and if disposed of correctly, it can continue to be useful for many years to come. To learn more about recycling aluminium, contact a company like Metal Merchants.Share